Can I build a dock or boathouse at Lake Sinclair?

Well that's a good question for people buying Lake Sinclair waterfront properties, but it's not one that I, as a real estate broker answer for my clients. There is always going to be some questions that I don't answer.

The easy answer is that Georgia Power allows docks with 50 feet of shoreline and a single boathouse with 75 feet of shoreline and a double boathouse with 100 feet of shoreline. But .... is that 100 feet that shows on your plat really 100 feet of shoreline to Georgia Power? Sometimes not.

Take the Google Earth photo for example.  The blue line represents the shoreline around the contour on this lot.  BUT Georgia Power measures straight line pin to pin on your surveyed property. That is the red line. So you can have well over 100 feet of shoreline, but it's not 100 feet straight line pin to pin you don't get that double boathouse permit. 

There are numerous other special circumstances that determine what you can do at your shoreline. If you are in a cove will what you want to do block your neighbor's access? Is your lot rectangle or pie shaped because you have "invisible" extensions of your property lines out into the water that you must maintain a 15 feet minimum distance away from them. 

Are you considering a house that has an older boathouse with siding on it? That's no longer allowed and to make changes or do upkeep the power company can make you get it into compliance with current regulations. Is the power run to the boathouse up to code? If not the county can come and make you disconnect power to the boathouse.

Georgia Power has written rules available for your review on line. You can view them at their website. But also keep in mind that individual lot shapes and locations can cause the rules to vary from it would seem. Speaking from observation and experience I'd also like to say it's wise to ask nicely and not be demanding or "tell" the power company what you are going to do.

If you have questions you can reach Georgia Power Land Management office at 706-484-7500


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Tammy Lankford, Broker/Owner


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Comment balloon 18 commentsTammy Lankford, • July 13 2016 11:38AM


Excellent post Tammy Lankford, it's a great reminder that we are NOT a legal source. Also, just because your neighbor has something doesn't mean that you can too.

Posted by Bob "RealMan" Timm, Owner of Ward Co. Notary Services, retired Realtor (Ward County Notary Services) over 4 years ago

This sounds like tricky business.  It is always a good idea to defer to an expert as you have suggested.

Posted by Belinda Spillman, Colorado Living! (Aspen Lane Real Estate Colorful Colorado) over 4 years ago

This is "power"ful info, Tammy! Puts me in mind of writing a dock post for Fishhawk Lake! (life is C-R-A-Z-Y here with a booming market, so that post will be way in the future for me)!

Posted by Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate, "Your Local Expert!" 503-755-2905 (John L Scott Market Center) over 4 years ago

Hi Tammy

This is must-have information for any buyer considering lake front property without an existing dock or boathouse and who wants to add one. It's essential to do the appropriate research upfront and understand the possibilities before making a decision.


Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude (eXp Realty of California, Inc.) over 4 years ago

Thanks for this Tammy. Very useful information that is likely applicable all over the country. Definitely something to keep in mind. And a great example of why AR is so useful. Bloggers here are all experts in something and can provide information that others did not even realize they needed (even if that expertise is in knowing enough to know that one is not an expert and expressing that). 

Posted by Cody Carmen, Market Analysis--Educational Content, Adhi Schools (Adhi Schools, LLC) over 4 years ago

Bob "RealMan" Timm very true and just because they would let you build something in the past doesn't mean it's in compliance now

Belinda Spillman and can cause high emotional responses when stop work orders are placed if working without a permit.

Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Realtor (503)755-2905 this is one of these questions I get over and over.

Posted by Tammy Lankford,, Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville (Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668) over 4 years ago

Jeff Dowler CRS actually even if a property does have one, but it's not in compliance.  As an example if you need to replace your seawall they can "negotiate" that you must bring your boathouse into compliance to get the permit for your seawall.  They are working hard to bring everyone up to code, which will help values for everyone if no ugly old enclosed not in good condition boathouse is in your area of the lake.

Cody Carmen and even if you don't work on waterfront properties perhaps this post can spark an idea of a question that you get a lot.  It's a great idea to have a post on "file" to email when you get a question over and over.  I get the dock and boathouse questions ALL the time.


Posted by Tammy Lankford,, Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville (Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668) over 4 years ago

Tammy this is a fantatic resource for home owners (or buyers) wanting to build a doc on their Lake Sinclair property.   Sounds like there are a lot of variances to consider BEFORE you begin to do anything!

Posted by Anna Banana Kruchten CRS CRB, Phoenix Broker, 602-380-4886 (HomeSmart Real Estate BR030809000) over 4 years ago

Ahhhh, you don't want to wake the sleeping grissley bear! Play nice and you may get what you want...if your lot is shaped right?

Posted by Evelyn Johnston, The People You Know, Like and Trust! (Friends & Neighbors Real Estate) over 4 years ago

Good evening Tammy Lankford,  That is good information to know when thinking about buying on Lake Sinclair, or any Lake.

Posted by Larry Johnston, Broker,Friends & Neighbors Real Estate, Elkhart,IN (Broker, Friends & Neighbors Real Estate and Elkhart County Subdivisions, LLC) over 4 years ago

I see exactly who runs the show on Lake Sinclair and I guess Georgia Power doesn't want anybody to forget it. Honestly, this is a horrible abuse of power. We're gonna go from point A to point C, and we don't give a damn about Point B or reality.

Posted by Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%, Put 40 years of experience to work for you (RE/MAX Gold) over 4 years ago

What an informative blog Tammy.  So many people how involved the process is in building a dock or boathouse.

Posted by Sybil Campbell, Referral Agent Amelia Island Florida over 4 years ago

Anna Banana Kruchten so many variables.  But I tend to agree with most rules. They want the shoreline to have an "as natural" as possible appearance.

Evelyn Johnston I've seen a rule or two bent in my day by officials to help homeowners.  5 extra feet of length to get to "boatable" water if no one else would be hindered, but only if people were asking and not demanding.

Larry Johnston we have Corps of Engineer lakes and GP lakes in Georgia and the rules are quite different.  I prefer the power company



Posted by Tammy Lankford,, Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville (Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668) over 4 years ago

Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents they built the 15,330 acre lake, they own and maintain the two dams at the north and south end so yes they are the rule makers.  But honestly most of it is common sense stuff that I agree with.  I don't want my neighbors to build a boathouse that look like an airplane hanger and blocks my view.

Sybil Campbell it is a complicated process, but permits are very important


Posted by Tammy Lankford,, Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville (Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668) over 4 years ago

Anyone thinking of moving to Lake Sinclair area should call you.

Posted by Gita Bantwal, REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel (RE/MAX Centre Realtors) over 4 years ago

Very interesting - I imagine it's easy to get caught up in the special circumstances. You've provided a clear explanation.

Posted by Wayne and Jean Marie Zuhl, The Last Names You'll Ever Need in Real Estate (Samsel & Associates) over 4 years ago

Hello Tammy

This is a great post and a question that not very many people will know except the professionals that study the county restrictions, etc.

In the state of Minnesota docks can be built if there is lake frontage, but a boathouse (only) if there is an existing foundation. The state of Minnesota is very strict about building boathouses close to the water.

Posted by Robert Vegas Bob Swetz over 4 years ago

Great information for homeowners at Lake Sinclair Tammy Lankford, particularly the "nice" reminder

Posted by Lisa Von Domek, ....Experience Isn't Expensive.... It's Priceless! (Lisa Von Domek Team) over 4 years ago